Innovators: Tony Noto, Pasta Jay’s
Pasta Jay’s is a fun casual Italian concept featuring the family recipes of founder Jay Elowsky. Based in Boulder, CO, the highly successful and growing three-unit chain also has locations in Lone Tree, CO, Moab, UT and soon Hayes, KS. We spoke with Corporate Chef Tony Noto about the brand and one of his signature dishes, the Hatch Green Chile Mac & Cheese.
We started serving Barilla pasta several years ago. It’s the brand we always had in my house growing up in a Sicilian household in Albuquerque, and we insist on it at Pasta Jay’s for the 100% consistent quality day in and day out, year after year. We have a small footprint at our flagship store in Boulder – just 2,400 square feet – but on weekends we’ll go through 10 cases of pasta! We can’t afford to slow down for low performance pasta.
You’ve raised a lot of eyebrows and sold a lot of pasta with your Hatch Green Chile Mac & Cheese. Tell us about it.
Since I’m from Albuquerque, Hatch green chiles are comfort food for me, and for our locations it’s a recognizable regional specialty. We make a simple sauce with lots of Hatch chiles, roasted red peppers, tomatoes and chile flakes for extra heat. I like to keep the green chiles chunky for texture, and assembly is a breeze — layers of cooked pasta, green chile sauce, our signature alfredo sauce and shredded Tillamook cheddar in a shallow casserole dish, baked in the pizza oven at 700°F. Each forkful is a little bit different, and it combines a classic comfort food with the deep flavor and heat of Hatch green chiles.
What are some of the other dishes you’re known for at Pasta Jay’s?
Believe it or not, our stuffed shells outsell everything on the menu,even the pizzas! Our baked Lorenzo (Editor’s Note: No relation to Barilla’s Chef Lorenzo Boni) is a linguine and sausage dish that sells out the door, too.